Uniform Working Hours and Structural Unemployment
In this paper, we construct a simple model based on heterogeneity in workers¡¯ productivity and homogeneity in their working schedules. This simple model can generate unemployment, even if wages adjust instantaneously, firms are perfectly competitive, and firms can perfectly observe workers¡¯ productivity and effort. In our model, it is optimal for low-skilled workers to be unemployed because, on the one hand, firms do not find it optimal to hire low-skilled workers when labor hours must be synchronized across heterogeneous workers, and on the other hand, low-skilled workers do not find it attractive working for the same hours as high-skilled workers at competitive wages based on productivity. Thus our model offers an alternative explanation for why unskilled workers are a primary source of structural unemployment.
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